Three WCS gifted educators’ creativity and dedication to teaching is winning them awards from the Tennessee Association for the Gifted (TAG).
Crockett Elementary teacher Stephanie Higgs is this year’s recipient of the TAG Horizon Award. Walnut Grove/Hillsboro teacher Anna Cassalia and Creekside/Grassland teacher Emily Hollett received this year’s TAG Curriculum Award.
The Horizon Award is given to an exemplary teacher with fewer than five years of experience as a gifted educator. Higgs transitioned from a general educator two years ago and says she is so thankful to be working with gifted learners in Williamson County.
“I have the opportunity to invest in not just the intellectual needs of my learners but also in their social wellbeing,” Higgs said. “I absolutely love the content I teach. Everyone at Crockett Elementary knows I think I have the best job in the building. Earning this Horizon Award inspires me to continue advocating for intellectually gifted learners and to continue growing as a leader in the field.”
To earn the Curriculum Award, educators must create a unit of study that is rigorous and appropriate for gifted students. Cassalia and Hollett worked together to create their unit, Views from the Zoo. The unit is designed for third through fifth grade students and integrates reading, writing and critical thinking with scientific content. Throughout their lessons, students look at zoos over time from various perspectives and think about the role of zoos in society.
“It is such an honor to be recognized by our State gifted association,” said Hollett. “We write curriculum specifically designed to use with our students, and that is its own reward. We strive to provide an authentic, rigorous and multifaceted curriculum to meet the needs of our learners. We always love finding the next level of thinking with our students.”
Higgs, Cassalia and Hollett all received plaques in honor of their achievements.